Are you sick of winter yet? It may be hard to believe, but spring is only a few days away, with the first official day of spring on March 20. While we wait for spring to arrive, it couldn't hurt to daydream about all the fun events we can start looking forward to this spring and summer.
In Saskatoon, we love our summer festivals. Through July and August especially, there's a different festival every weekend, but we still don't tire of them; record crowds seem to hit every festival each weekend. That's because Saskatonians know how to have a good time. Read on to start your daydreaming!
2013 Mastercard Memorial Cup
Date: May 16-26
Location: Credit Union Centre
The Saskatoon Blades are hosting the 2013 Memorial Cup. This year marks the 95th anniversary of this junior hockey championship. Tickets run from $95 for the nosebleed section to $595 for club seats. The Arrival of the Memorial Cup Ceremony will be held on May 16 at Kiwanis Memorial Park in downtown Saskatoon.
Date: May 25-31
The NatureCity Festival is a new kid on the block in terms of city festivals. Hosted by Wild about Saskatoon, a volunteer-powered collective that aims to promote urban nature, the festival will feature nature and bird walks, astronomy sessions, lectures, workshops, and more. Some events are already set, while more will be announced in the coming weeks.
Waterfront Craft Art Festival in Partnership with Affinity Credit Union
Date: June 8
Location: River Landing
This one day event is an outdoor craft festival at the beautiful River Landing in downtown Saskatoon. More than 50 juried craft and visual artists will display their wares for sale, plus there will be entertainment and children's activities. If you haven't spent an afternoon at River Landing yet, the Waterfront Festival is a good excuse to do so.
SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival
Date: June 21-July 1
There's nothing better than enjoying a cool drink in the park while jazz music floats through the air. Tickets are already available for the big shows at the 2013 Jazz Fest: Serena Ryder, Herbie Hancock, City and Colour, and Dr. John and the Nite Trippers. The annual Jazz Festival might just be one of Saskatoon's biggest events, with over 80,000 music fans attending each year.
Optimist Canada Day Celebrations
Date: July 1
Location: Diefenbaker Park
The Canada Day celebrations last all day long at Diefenbaker Park, but nothing draws more crowds than the fireworks at dusk. Traffic for the fireworks is notoriously insane, so consider some alternatives to driving: ride your bike and get free valet parking from Saskatoon Cycles Bike Valet, or push off your canoe or kayak from the Victoria Park dock and watch the fireworks from the river.
Date: July 5-7
Location: Victoria Park
The WakeRide festival only started a few years ago, but has grown into one of the more exciting summer events in Saskatoon. Head to Victoria Park to see extreme sports like wakeboarding, freestyle motor cross, skateboarding, and slider pool, or if sports aren't your thing, go there for the live music. Not only is it a ton of fun, but every dollar raised from the event supports youth programs in the city.
Canada Remembers Our Heroes
Date: July 6-7
Location: Auto Clearing Motor Speedway
When the Cameco Canada Remembers International Air Show was cancelled in 2009 due to the Saskatoon airport's expansion plans, it looked like the days of the air show might be over. But in 2011, the Canada Remembers Our Heroes show took its place, and now we have a new, fantastic show, with the the CF-18 Hornet, Skyhawks Parachute Team, and the magical Snowbirds.
Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan
Date: July 10-August 25
Location: Next to the Mendel Art Gallery
You know it's truly summer when the big white tents go up on the riverbank. This year, the plays are Macbeth and The Comedy of Errors, and as always, the roles will be filled by Saskatchewan's finest actors. And don't forget that the festival site includes free live entertainment every evening, along with a gorgeous view of the river at Sir Toby's Tavern and Riverside Deck.
Velocity Prairie Thunder NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Race
Date: July 16-17
Location: Auto Clearing Motor Speedway
NASCAR is coming to Saskatoon this summer at the Auto Clearing Motor Speedway. Drivers from across Canada will be competing in this fast-paced event. Lots of seats are still available, but as of March, over 1,500 advanced seats and VIP tickets have already been sold.
A Taste of Saskatchewan
Date: July 16-21
Location: Kiwanis Park
If there's one thing Saskatonians love more than jazz music, it's food. A Taste of Saskatchewan features tapas from 30 of Saskatoon's best restaurants, and always brings out loads of hungry crowds. And of course, a delicious event on the riverbank wouldn't be the same without great music: this year's festival will feature over 55 bands and performers from every genre under the sun.
Experience Downtown Sidewalk Sale
Date: July 18-20
How often do you get to walk down the middle of the street in downtown Saskatoon? Once a year at the annual Downtown Sidewalk Sale. The event has been a mainstay of Saskatoon summers for years, and it's back again this year. You'll find both great deals from your favourite downtown stores, and live entertainment and yummy food.
River Lights Festival and Watercross Nationals
Date: July 26-28
Location: River Landing
The River Lights Festival was Saskatoon's newest festival, until the NatureCity Festival took that title. The third annual River Lights Festival includes the Watercross Nationals, and demonstrations of canoeing, kayaking, rowing, and paddle-boarding, and a beautiful nighttime river parade of boats decorated with lights.
PotashCorp Fringe Theatre Festival
Date: August 1-10
The Fringe Festival might be the best place in Saskatoon to people watch. In the evenings, the streets are packed with folks eager to check out the street buskers, buy homemade wares, and snack on treats. But don't forget there is also amazing indoor theatre waiting to be enjoyed, from theatre companies from around the world, across Canada, and from right here at home.
Date: August 6-11
Location: Prairieland Park
Whether you have a soft spot for shopping, games, or the special foods you can only get once a year, you haven't experienced summer until you've spent way too much money at the Ex. Plus, who can turn down a chance to go on their favourite rides? With tons of entertainment, it might take you days to experience everything the Ex has to offer.
Date: August 15-17
In any other city, a “folk fest” is a folk music festival, but in Saskatoon, the “Folkfest” means something else entirely. Did I mention yet that Saskatonian's like food? FolkFest is known for its delicious ethnic cuisine at pavilions located around the city, and everyone has their favourite pavilion or treat (Hutsul Hammers at the Karpaty Ukranian Pavilion, anyone?). It's a great way to explore the city and get to know the different cultures that make Saskatoon so diverse.
Rock 102 Cruise Weekend
Date: August 23-25
Even if you don't like cars, there's something alluring about the beautiful makes and models that hit Saskatoon streets during Cruise Weekend. While not an official event, you can check out the beauties as they cruise down 8th Street in the evenings, or for a more leisurely take, stroll through the show and shine downtown on Sunday.
PotashCorp Fireworks Festival
Date: August 30-31
Location: River Landing and Rotary Park
When the Fireworks Festival first started in 2008, some wondered why we needed more fireworks when we already have the annual fireworks at the Canada Day celebrations. But you don't hear those protestations now because the Fireworks Festival might have an even better display than the July celebration! Two evenings of fireworks that are choreographed to music? Yes, please! What a way to end the summer.
Word on the Street Saskatoon
Date: September 22
Another newer festival on Saskatoon streets, the Word on the Street Saskatoon is a national book and magazine festival that features readings from some of the province's and country's top authors, a book and magazine marketplace, and activities for kids. It's a great place to meet your favourite local writers.
We look forward to the many events happening around the city in the coming months and hope that you do as well!